Reaud recipients: Passion, performance

Published 6:03 pm Monday, April 16, 2018


That 10 grand is swell and so is the crystal obelisk.

It’s nice to have someone fuss over you and that will happen at a gala come May 8.

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But the 15 recipients of the 2018 Wayne A. Reaud Excellence in Education Award may find an intrinsic value in their selection as elite classroom teachers in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Tyler, Jasper or Newtown counties. They may reap their rewards in the quiet satisfaction that comes from doing a job and doing it well and doing it with passion.

Fifteen teachers are selected for the Reaud awards every year and it’s a big deal. To win, you’ve got to show dedication, knowledge, skill. You’ve got to inspire students across the spectrum. You need to show professionalism and collegiality. But all of that is explained in the application process, which is involved and demanding.

Two teachers from Nederland Independent School District — Cheryl Weaver, who teaches first grade at Highland Park Elementary School and Diane Johnson, who teaches English IV at Nederland High — were among this year’s recipients and no doubt earned their honors. The Reaud process is too thorough to allow anyone but the deserving through the door.

Weaver has taught for 30 years, all of them in the Nederland system. Johnson, a Mid County native, has taught since 2004, when she started her career in Houston.

But as long as they’ve worked in the classroom, they’ve relished what they do and — and it would seem — pass that passion along to their classrooms.

“I love what I do,” said Weaver, who appreciates her co-workers and teaching colleagues and those who over the years have mentored her along.

“I love my job,” said Johnson. “I love that my students keep me on my toes. There’s a new aspect to the world every day … They keep me young.”

Now that’s not a passion that everyone can embrace, especially those who might not uncover the joy inherent in sharing a single room all day with wall-to-wall 6-year-olds. For many adults, the constant company of teenagers might rank one step ahead of sitting in hot tar.

That’s why we have teachers — people with kindness and perspective and grit who know that developing young minds and characters is meaningful not just for one day or for one teacher’s career, however long that might be. It’s meaningful for as long as that student shall live and prosper and interact with generations to follow.

So the money is nice and so is the recognition. But in the quiet of their thoughts, in the still wherever they might find some rare, happy solitude, Weaver and Johnson and 13 other teachers can know that their best efforts may last for many lifetimes.

God bless them for that.